Israel allows protest boats to reach Gaza

Sunday, August 24, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

The Israel Navy on Saturday allowed several small boats full of leftist international protestors to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip, despite earlier talk of seizing the vessels or physically preventing the completion of their journey.

The protestors set sail from Cyprus with a small shipment of minor medical equipment determined to provoke a confrontation with Israeli forces and shine a spotlight on what they call Israel's "siege" of the volatile Hamas-ruled coastal territory.

Israeli officials who spoke to Ha'aretz said that by refusing to confront the protestors on the high seas, Israel had "taken the wind out of their sails," so to speak.

Noted one official, "Instead of letting the entire international press obsess about this for a week, the boats received almost no coverage, simply because there was no confrontation."

There was no indication that Israel had thought through what to do when the activists try to depart Gaza. Some officials fear they may try to smuggle wanted Hamas terrorists out of the area.

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